© El Commercio
Officials are baffled and want to rule out a possible volcanic origin.
A mysterious burning crack is releasing gases since two weeks in a small village named Columbe situated in the Ecuadorian Andes.

The steam started coming out of the earth about 15 days ago after a controlled burn of weeds.

A column of steam and gas continues to emanate from a mysterious crack that opened up in a hill near Columbe, in Chimborazo, Ecuador.

The area has been evacuated because it is still unknown if toxic gases are released by the unexplained underground emanation.
© El Universo
This mysterious crack appeared in the ground of Columbe, Ecuador and baffles scientists.

© Metro Ecuador
Incandescent material burning underground.
Investigations are ongoing. Soil and gas samples have been taken by technicians of the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School.

© Tele Amazonas
Is this strange phenomenon liked to the activity of a nearby volcano?
The strange phenomenon has most probably a volcanic origin as the burning crack and the gas emanations are located approximately 45 km from the Chimborazo volcano.

© Google Earth.
45 km to the next active volcano.
But officials try to rule out a volcanic origin saying the burning crack was created by the controlled burn.

According to them the underground remains incandescent and emanates gases since 2 weeks because the soil is full of organic matter, which is considered a good fuel.